Creative entrepreneur Rose Jackson and her partner Matt Wiseman have embraced the village lifestyle of their charming central Auckland suburb.
How long have you lived in Mt Eden?
On and off since I was 18, when you could afford a room in a flat for $65 a week. Nearly every flat I lived in before moving overseas happened to be in this area, so when I moved in with Matt seven years ago, it was like coming home. Matt grew up in Mt Eden, when Circus Circus was a bakery that sold those three-coloured, tiered meringue snowmen with a stale biscuit base. Then he left for the UK, was gone for 18 years, returned to a very different place serving bowl lattes and deconstructed lamingtons, and moved right back into his childhood home.
Who do you live with?
Matt and I live with Bene the dog and Eva the cat 100 percent of the time, and with Matt’s two youngest children, Miranda and Hugh, 50 percent of the time. Matt’s eldest child, Imogen, and her fiancé, Owen, live just up the road, so they often pop over for dinner. If we’re lucky, they cook!
What do you love about the area?
Its proximity to Maungawhau, which I walk up virtually every day; the village feel, as everything is within easy walking distance; the cherry trees that Matt’s mum helped plant more than 40 years ago that the tūī come to gorge on in early spring; the gardens (we’re constantly garden- snooping to see what works in our area); the decayed grandeur of the Crystal Palace cinema just up the road; and that the area is still just clinging to its bohemian past, but only by a thread.
Where do you go for coffee?
Matt makes an unbeatable coffee in bed for me every day, so I don’t have to go anywhere, which is such a treat. But if we’re out and about, Kinship Coffee has recently opened up inside Junk & Disorderly, serving excellent espresso and very tempting donuts. Matt still pops into Circus Circus, hoping they have reinvigorated the stale meringue snowmen, but so far without joy.
Zool Zool, hands down. Their paitan and tantan ramen are without peer.
Any stores, galleries or other spots you recommend?
The Gifford Gallery is a real treasure that’s home to The New Zealand Fellowship of Artists and offers informal painting groups, art classes, workshops and exhibitions. The iconic Time Out Bookstore for their superbly informed opinions on what we should all be reading. Eden Garden for the most beautiful lush garden paradise. The secret rock forest on the eastern slopes of Maungawhau. And the Auckland Handweavers & Spinners Guild tucked behind Nicholson Park.
Favourite second-hand shops?
We’re spoilt for choice. The legendary Junk & Disorderly moved down the road a few years ago, Hunt & Foster and Antique Alley on Dominion Road are fantastic, and there are always sneaky little garage shops and pop-ups dotted about. We have also had Webb’s and Cordy’s turn up in our neighbourhood, so they’re always fun to check out, and the op shops have thrown up some real gems.
Where do you go for a dose of nature?
We’re incredibly fortunate that Mt Eden is so green and it’s easy to feel close to nature here all the time, but for full immersion I go straight up Maungawhau. The Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau Authority have got rid of cars on the summit, which is fantastic. The 360-degree views from up top are unbeatable, and as there are many ways to access the maunga, each day is a different experience. It is such a special place.
Tell us about your house.
The house we live in is a long-established family home, built by Matt’s great- great-uncle, Frank Wiseman, who was the brother of Alexander Wiseman, the architect who designed the Auckland Ferry Building. It’s been in the family since it was built in 1912, except for a few years when it was divided into flats. Matt’s mum and dad bought it back in the 1960s when no one wanted to live in Mt Eden, and the extended family story has carried on since.
How have you added personality to your home?
It’s been really fun working with Matt to transform parts of the home and make our mark. There are layers of history and stories, family spirits and a variety of eras and styles. It’s been a slow and steady journey of respecting what went before, modernising small parts of it that are falling to bits and stripping back other parts to reveal original features, like the brick fireplace, which took two weeks, involved lots of swearing and required an extra pair of hands.
We each have wide-ranging tastes running through all design periods and eras, and we try to incorporate them into a harmonious whole. This is not always smooth sailing and often involves lively conversations about exactly what should go where! Given that we travel a lot to do research for our various projects, our house is full of a mishmash of textiles, books, treasures and artworks that we’ve collected along the way.
What do you and Matt do for work?
We are fortunate enough to live and work together, and we run Studio Bommyknocker from our home. Our work sits somewhere at the intersection of strategy, sustainability, programming, publishing, events, tourism, fashion, art, creativity and design, and we get to work with hundreds (if not thousands) of people around Aotearoa each year to create festivals, events, exhibitions, activations and publications. We’re currently researching edition five of Collectors Anonymous – a glove box-sized guide to more than 1500 New Zealand vintage and second-hand stores; we curated Still Life – Wild Places, an exhibition and event series inspired by Katherine Mansfield; and we’re consulting on other projects. We constantly discuss our work, passing it back and forth at any time of the day or night – smoothing, shaping and refining it as we go. We have complementary skills, and love doing the things that the other hates.
I’m also on the board of the New Zealand Fashion Museum and have worked in fashion for years, so
I love supporting the vintage, second-hand and locally manufactured fashion industry